Quietly, while we slept, Pinburgh was transforming.
We did go to bed early. I think we were both out by midnight. The ReplayFX convention was continuing, and there were even all the pinball games and video games in the public area still available to play. Competition games were forbidden but there were still many things we could play if we wanted. Many rare games. We didn't want. We had been warned that Pinburgh would be exhausting. Superficially, five rounds of play --- twenty games --- doesn't seem like it should be that much. But it was. Some of it's physically. Some of it's just the stress of being in tournament play for twelve hours, less two hours for lunch. We slept. I slept well, of course. bunny_hugger slept less well. The bed was too soft, and transmitted all my very many movements directly to her.
While we slept the nature of the tournament changed. I suppose it was really done before we had got to bed, but, eh. The first day was one of qualifying. It worked out, as best as any mere five rounds of play can, roughly the division of skill. The 684 participants would be sorted into four divisions.
My first day's record put me in the middle of C division. Almost right in: I would start Friday seeded 84th out of 171. A bunch of the Michigan Pinball people would end up there. I'm not embarrassed. There were celebrities there too. Roger Sharpe, the guy who brought legal pinball to New York City with his famous called shot, and who brought modern licensing into pinball giving us so many of the great games of the 90s, was in the C division, seeded 118th.
bunny_hugger did not place into C division. She made it to B, 106th seed. She was up with heavy-hitters like CST (115th seed), SMS (12th seed), and ADM (150th). ADM was a special case: he didn't actually have a good enough record for the B Division. But he had ranked so highly at Pinburgh the year before he was restricted and could not be placed lower than B Division, one of the tournament's moves to avoid sandbagging.
MWS, meanwhile, made it into the A Division, at 100th. AJH, already (I think) the lock for first place in the Michigan rankings for 2016, was there too, at 91st. AND was in the A division at 30th; his son at 10th. (!) SJG, a guy I knew back at Rutgers, and whom we didn't know was attending Pinburgh, was at the bottom of the A division, 172nd.
And some poor folks would end up in the D division. JIM, particularly. Frustrating but he would have the same chance to finish in the top 40 as everyone else in the division. And in the D division the track records would be wiped clean; everyone would start from the same base. A good day of play and he could finish as a division finalist yet.
We got up Friday. I showered without flooding the bathroom, although I did it in part by building up a little wall of surplus towels to make sure something stopped the water. It didn't get out of the shower area anyway. We got coffee and tea, I think, from the same little coffee stand. And we headed over while hearing unsettling rumors abut Saturday.
The convention center had a new event scheduled for Saturday. It wouldn't force ReplayFX or Pinburgh out, not exactly. But it would limit the access along many routes. It might block off who could enter or exit the center at all. Rumors were that for Saturday cars leaving the hotel parking lot wouldn't be allowed back in. I trusted that my car was still in the bus terminal's garage.
Hillary Clinton was to have a campaign rally at the convention center. We thought back to our Kentucky Kingdom trip, made more complicated by the NRA Rally and Donald Trump's appearance. We wanted to know what it was that our few vacations of the year were being stalked by presidential candidates and also Donald Trump.
Trivia: Joe Penner's ``You Wanna Buy A Duck?'' routine adopted the duck only in 1933. Before that he had tried the bit with ``Hippopotamus''. Source: American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny, Christopher Miller.
Currently Reading: Discovering the Natural Laws: The Experimental Basis of Physics, Milton A Rothman.
PS: Why Stuff Can Orbit, Part 6: Circles and Where To Find Them. Finally some useful quantitative results from all this central-force problem stuff!